The Future of Online Learning

Education is the driving force of the collective called a nation. It possesses miraculous properties to wipe out poverty, oppression and apathy – evils that plague our society. Many nations allocate a significant portion of their GDP towards education but there still remain large sections which are stuck in a sort of perpetual ‘Dark Age’. This is mostly due to the absence of cogs that turn the wheels of enlightenment and learning.
Since the past five or six centuries, schools and universities have been the mainstay in the dissemination of learning. However, with the onset of technology, the Internet has become so pervasive that it has become the de-facto tool for the acquisition of learning and education.

Several, hundred years ago, learning was all about copying and memorising. As technology spread and infiltrated various socioeconomic groups, computers allowed students to access informational resources via the web while they simultaneously listened to a related lecture. E-learning previously involved video clips that demonstrated a task and the student was prompted to answer MCQs to advance further. E-learning became more interactive as advancements in graphics and storage allowed for more complicated programs, and learners could participate in simulations and choose the path of their lesson. Some courses even replaced instructors and more learning institutions adopted E-learning platforms.

The future e-learning trends could comprise of the following and may render a brick and mortar classroom irrelevant in the future:

1. MOOC: Massively Open Online Courses allow millions of people from all over the world to take the same course concomitantly. An effective way to monetize them hasn’t been found yet but their growing credibility among companies can redefine ‘classrooms’. It would become a figurative term with the world being called a ‘classroom’. It would also make learning affordable, and all permeating through more avenues.

2. Mobile learning: The mobile devices, or rather, smartphones, as they are called today come equipped with a host of powerful features such as a camera, digital compass, heat sensors and gyroscopes that enable them to become scientific tools and perform real time, on field scientific experiments. It also enables the user to take lessons on the go through the apps specifically designed for the courses.

3. E-learning can take the form of an interactive gaming session rather than conventional lectures. Learners like challenges and games give them the opportunity to devise strategies to beat the game.
The concept of E-learning will certainly revolutionize traditional learning by providing richer content and broader perspectives. A teacher can become a motivator, confidante and designer of content and organizer of the flow of courses rather than a transmitter of knowledge and hard-nosed discipline. It will make learning personalized, individualistic and self-paced, further making it more palatable and exciting.
Education today is certainly a diamond in the rough and e-learning could be the polish that cleans up sub-par teaching, provides equality across sub-economic groups and makes learning a whole lot more exciting.

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The Changing Face of Learning

Education today has acquired a different meaning from what used to be, say, 20 years ago. Earlier, as per social standards, the only ‘respectable’ professions used to be engineering and medicine. Even the most prescient of people couldn’t have predicted a change of epic proportions that we’re currently experiencing.
What was once considered an ‘offbeat’ career choice has mostly become the norm today.More educational institutions are being set up by the government to cater to the people taking ‘the road less travelled’. Now, it’s considered normal for Mr. Sharma to send their son abroad to study filmmaking, and for Mr. Mehta to enroll his daughter in that coaching institute to prepare for CLAT examination so that his dreams of his daughter becoming a full time female version of Harvey Specter [ for people who don’t watch Suits, it means a lawyer :P] come true. Yes,people. India has finally come of age where people aren’t just daring to dream; they’re getting out and pursuing careers of their choice which is not any longer determined by societal perceptions and parental pressure, but by what individuals are innately driven to pursue.
But with changes come new challenges. There is a noticeable gap between formal education and workplace challenges. There is a chasm between what the industry demands and what the new entrant comes equipped with.
For example, engineering students gain ‘technical knowledge’, which is nothing but tome learning. For example, a mechanical engineering undergraduate is expected to know the inner workings of an internal combustion engine by memorizing the Otto cycle, but little does he know that the companies hiring him will expect him to design newer, efficient mechanisms which is possible only through the use of softwares like MATLAB, AutoCAD, SolidWorks and embedding softwares like AnSYS. Or, a Computer Science graduate will be expected by his company to possess knowledge of Javascript, PhP and HTML for web development, programming languages like C and C++ for coding and SAS,SAP,ERP and Hadoop for metadata analysis.
What could possibly come in handy for these young new entrants are innovative, interactive and affordable courses, which are designed keeping in mind industry-specific skills. And what could make this easily accessible is their availability online. This is where LearnSocial comes into the picture by providing a one-stop solution to every professional conundrum a person faces.
It’s time we had a marketplace catering to the learning needs across a spectrum of learners.

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